American Transmission Co. announced the final route options for a proposed 345-kV electric transmission line through Dane County, Wis. between the towns of Middleton and Christiana.
The final routes proposed by ATC follow two basic east-west corridors. The northern route generally follows the Beltline and the southern route uses mostly rural areas offset from county highways. The Beltline route would be 32 miles long; the southern route, 55 miles. Some variations to the routes, which provide alternate connections or paths between the two routes, will be included in the construction application ATC will file this fall with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin asking for authorization to build the transmission line.
“Even with recent improvements, the transmission system is operating at near maximum capacity,” said Mark Williamson, vice president of Major Projects. “This project reinforces the backbone of the system by providing the first major electric highway across the county for bringing electric power to businesses and residents throughout the ever-growing county. This line allows for the efficient and reliable use of the existing lower-voltage system. The bottom line is keeping the lights on. Our goal is to solve a critical electrical problem in the Dane County area that we know is real.”
ATC spent the past two years and thousands of hours analyzing dozens of possible routes for the line. This analysis along with input from the public and from local officials was used to reduce and refine the number of possible routes. The past year has been spent conducting a comprehensive evaluation of three preliminary routes, and further refining the options. The PSC requires at least two route options to be included in the construction application for regulatory review and consideration.
“The routing analysis for this project has been among the most complex we have ever faced,” Williamson said. “The input we’ve received from thousands of written comments and face-to-face discussions with potentially affected landowners, environmental groups, elected officials and community leaders has enabled us to better define project routes in a way that reduces impacts on the community and the environment.”
The year-long regulatory review will begin in October when ATC files its construction application for the project. The proposed transmission line is scheduled to be placed in service by summer 2013.